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by Fred McMillin
for February 24, 2000


The Rhone Revolution


Prologue

From Rhone Renaissance by Remington Norman... Accepting the view that a vine performs best in a marginal climate--that is, at the lower limit of regular ripening--developing cooler sites with suitable soils has become a passion for many growers in pursuit of quality.

The name of our wine is Io (eye-owe)and the winemaker says, "This debut release of Io's blend of Rhone varieties was produced in the coastal vineyards of Santa Barbara County. The cool marine air and coastal fog means the slow-ripening Rhone varietals are not ready for harvest until mid-October."


The Rest of the Story

Io logo Author Norman concludes that the Rhone revolution in California has just begun, and that the trail-blazers are already making some remarkable wine.

This first release of Io is a fine example... 19% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre and 64% Syrah. (Santa Barbara County Syrah acreage: 1980—zero, 1990—32, 1997—187.) Here it is, one of the best California Rhone-grape blends my panel has tasted in recent years.

1996 Io Rhone-varietal blend
Appellation—Santa Barbara County
10 months in French oak
Tasting—Plenty of purple power.
Rating—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Price—$40 range
Phone—(805) 937-7288, FAX—(805) 937-1246


Postscript—Zeus's Juices

The name Io? She was a beautiful Greek goddess. Zeus, the CEO of all Greek gods, fell in love with Io, the goddess. My panel fell in love with Io, the wine.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created February 2000

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